Michael Ostlund hasn’t forgotten who gave him his second coaching opportunity. It was former Saint Martin’s basketball coach Bob Grisham, who hired Ostlund as an assistant in 1997 after he was out of the business a few years and looking for a new start.
Now, 16 years later, Ostlund is back in Lacey after being hired again by Grisham, SMU’s athletic director – only this time as the Saints’ men’s head basketball coach Friday. Ostlund inherits a program that went 10-16 overall and 6-12 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference last season. He replaces Keith Cooper, who was fired in early March after 10 seasons.
Ostlund, 44, got his first long-standing assistant coaching job at Saint Martin’s when Grisham hired the then-28-year-old after one season as an assistant at Weber State, Ostlund’s alma mater where he was an all-Big Sky performer. He spent five years with the Saints, earning his master’s in business administration during that time, and left in 2002.
“That was a really good opportunity,” Ostlund said Friday from his home in Eagle Mountain, Utah, near Salt Lake City. “We were really close for five years. To have an opportunity to come back and be the head coach with Bob as the athletic director was really important to me.”
Ostlund spent the past 10 years as a junior-college coach. He had five-year stints at Salt Lake Community College as an assistant and at Snow College as the head coach before resigning in 2012. At Snow College, he compiled an 83-73 record – including 20-win seasons his final two years.
Ostlund said what intrigues him about Saint Martin’s is the challenge of being in a Division II program and in a conference that produced national champion Western Washington in 2012. Plus, both Western and Seattle Pacific were ranked in the top five nationally this past season.
“I love taking on a major challenge,” he said. “It’s basketball and I love basketball. That’s the only way I know how to make a living. Saint Martin’s, the conference they’re in and everything is a major challenge.”
Ostlund, and his wife, Jennifer, have three daughters: Nettie, 21; Jadie, 18; and Mattie, 13.Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 firstname.lastname@example.org theolympian.com/southsoundsports @MegWochnick